BC Place stadium would have needed undefined improvements, likely including new turf, to host World Cup soccer games. (Ryan Adams/Wikimedia Commons)

B.C. Place will miss out on World Cup soccer celebration

Premier John Horgan doesn’t ‘regret for a minute’ pulling out

World Cup soccer won’t be coming to B.C. in 2026, after a joint North American bid won the right to host the tournament.

The B.C. government dropped out of the bidding in March, citing unknown costs due to possible upgrades to B.C. Place stadium to meet the demands of FIFA, the World Cup governing body.

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said Wednesday she is happy that the North America bid was successful, but the province made the right decision.

Premier John Horgan was in Grand Forks Wednesday to announce a new disaster relief fund for people forced from their homes.

“I do not regret for a minute the decision we made to withdraw any support for the bid, based on the lack of a final number from FIFA,” Horgan said. “We’re still not prepared to write a blank cheque for a soccer tournament that would not guarantee a specific number of games, would not guarantee the duration of the closing of B.C. Place and would not give us a final dollar figure.

“Now knowing that we need to put resources into places like Grand Forks and looking at a fire season ahead of us, I think most taxpayers would be grateful for that decision,” Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. dropped from Canada’s World Cup bid

The announcement of North America’s winning bid came Wednesday from Moscow, where Russia is hosting the 2018 World Cup tournament.

“It was goose bumps, it was tears, cheering, it was unbelievable,” said Karina LeBlanc, two-time Olympic medal winning goaltender for Canada’s national women’s soccer team.

LeBlanc, who grew up in Maple Ridge B.C. and now plays professionally, was in Moscow for the decision. “It’s a game changer for our three countries, especially for Canada,” she said.

B.C. was dropped from the Canadian bid after the province refused to sign off on undefined upgrades that may have included putting natural grass turf in B.C. Place stadium.

B.C. Liberal tourism critic Jas Johal said the decision to drop out is a setback for tourism in B.C., the only province that couldn’t make a deal for the three-country bid. B.C. residents will have to “reserve a spot on the sofa instead of the stadium,” Johal said.

That leaves Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto in the running to host the 10 games that will be awarded to Canada. There is no guarantee all the cities will host games as plans for the World Cup tournament continue to unfold under FIFA control.

Just Posted

Central Okanagan firefighters are battling wildfires across B.C.

Lake Country, Kelowna and Peachland crews are assisting the BC Wildfire Service

Long-awaited John Hindle Drive in Kelowna just weeks away from completion

Ministry of Transportation says it plans to have the road open before the start of the school year

Updated: RCMP no longer suspect death of Vernon woman is suspicious

West Kelowna RCMP continue to investigate the woman’s sudden death

Man who stole hundreds of golf balls in Kelowna identified

The individual has since come forward to the RCMP

Urgent need for Kelowna, Vernon blood donors

Okanagan blood shortfall part of nation-wide challenge

A first-hand look at hazards facing scooter users

A Salmon Arm reporter tags along on a mobility scooter tour of the city to learn about safety hazards

Parks Canada has ‘general concept’ in mind for South Okanagan-Similkameen

Minister Catherine McKenna will be providing a further update to representatives in Penticton Friday, August 17

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Mamma Mia had Kelowna dancing in the aisles

More than 9,000 people attended the 12 sold-out shows of Mamma Mia in Kelowna.

Big bucks for painting of small B.C. town

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by E. J. Hughes exceeded its pre-auction estimate at a recent sale.

Most Read